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Smyrna Meatballs-Heaven must be Greek!!!

As a child, I though that this “Soutzoukakia” recipe was the hardest of all, seeing my grand-mother spending hours in her kitchen preparing it. The whole house smelled cumin and cinnamon and garlic and slowly the aroma was climbing up from the open door to the rest of the building floors.

Growing up, I finally understood why it ‘d always take my grand-mother so much time to prepare this easy recipe. Everytime, she was preparing enough not only for our family (6 persons) but for the entire building. And before she would start to knock on our neighbours’ door to offer them their portion, everyone already knew and waited for the famous Lela’s “Soutzoukakia” .

What a happy time that was, when the family would get together around a heavenly made meal, made with love, tradition and nostalgia. “Soutzoukakia” recipe came to Greece only with the Greek immigrants from the Asia Minor in 1922. Once again, I’m grateful to them…

INGREDIENTS:

1 kilo of minced meat (I prefer beef)

1 cup of breadcrumbs

1/4 cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)

1/4 cup of white dry wine (or red if you like better)

5 cloves of garlic finely chopped

1/4 bunch of parsley finely chopped

1 medium onion finely chopped

1 tbsp of cumin powder

1 egg lightly beaten

Flour

Salt and freshly ground pepper

SAUCE INGREDIENTS:

3 cups of water

1 onion, chopped

1 1/2 cup of ripped mashed tomatoes

1 tbsp of tomato paste (if needed)

3-4 tbsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)

1 tbsp of cinnamon powder

1 tbsp of clove powder

1 tbsp of fresh(or dried) basil

Salt and freshly ground pepper

HOW TO:

In a large bowl, place the minced meat, breadcrumbs, wine, garlic, parsley, onion, cumin powder,

egg, salt and pepper to taste. Make sure you knead well all the ingredients.

Using your hands mould the mixture into small long rolls. To my opinion, the smaller the better.

Place enough flour in a plate and roll the meatballs in it to get coated.

Heat up the olive oil in a pan and fry the meatballs all over for about 15 minutes, over medium heat.

Meanwhile prepare the sauce in a different large frying pan.

Over low heat, sauté the onion into the olive oil. Then add all sauce ingredients together and bring to boil.

Before the sauce thickens, place the fried meatballs in it .

Simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the sauce thickens.

Traditionally, “Soutzoukakia” are proudly served on a bed of white rice.

EXTRA TIP:

One true, Smyrna, recipe would never forget to add a handful of black “Kalamata” olives

together with all the sauce ingredients. This would give a different, “heavy” flavor.

A delicious recipe that your kids will love.

Heaven can wait…

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